Going For A Laptop - $1000 Enough? :)

Hi guys! First time ever posting here, so if I mess something up or posted wrong, sorry about that!

Anyways going to college (technically "university" but whatever...) soon and I'm looking to pick up some hardware (as in a whole laptop incase people misinterpret my rhetoric lol) that will last for a good amount of time, allow me to do anything required in college, as well as serve as a primary computing tool as I will no longer be using a desktop once I purchase this laptop, so it would be very useful if it can perform basic functions with incredible ease and at least have the capability to perform a reasonable job on more intensive tasks.

1. What is your budget?

If possible, I'd like to spend $1000. However, if it is worth it, I may be able to throw a couple hundred more, but a $1000 option would be nice in addition to any more expensive suggestions.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

I'm not sure between 15.6 or 17.3... is the former any more portable than the latter? I think 17.3 would be preferable since this laptop will replace my desktop completely. If the cost difference is huge, I might reconsider.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

I have no clue... 1440 by 900? Or is that insane? Haha. Again, it'll be my portable desktop, so everything, games, movies, will be experienced through this for quite some time.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Desktop replacement.

5. How much battery life do you need?

With relatively light-duty usage (i.e word programs, maybe the occasional video and possibly some web browsing) 4-6 hours would probably be best, as then I can get through the majority of my day/classes without ever needing to find an outlet. I like a decent brightness, so 4 hours with almost no programs open at minimum brightness would probably be somewhat lacking. If it can be extended to something like 8 hours with fair multitasking without a large cost, I would definitely consider the additional pricetag, although I'd appreciate having a few different options.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

Interested in Starcraft II... I know that Ultra is definitely an insane thing to wish for with an eco ~$1000 budget, but is maybe High possible? (By possible I mean playing on high would not result in any lag during large battles... I feel like only medium would work under my definition of possible, but hopefully someone can clarify) I'm not going to be going all out on gaming so I would only casually touch on more intense games like Crysis, if at all.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Photo Editing: maybe a little bit of photoshop; in my experience photo editing isn't very intensive... although perhaps the new programs are very intensive... a bit of lag doesn't affect photo editing as much as it does for video editing (when it becomes impossible to judge if you've done something right or not)

Video Editing: as long as I can *run* programs like Sony Vegas 8 and whatever, I'll live. I rarely do video editing, although I'm starting to get into it; I don't need to render 20gb movies in like 3 minutes, but being able to edit and have effects running without the preview lagging (thus preventing me from getting anything done) would be helpful incase I ever do video editing...

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

Not that much. 500gb is standard these days, I believe? That should be more than enough. Definitely no need for SSD or anything fancy like that.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

None, but I have bad experiences with purchasing things online. :( Reassurance and suggestions on credible merchants would be helpful. Typically my money goes out and nothing comes back.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

2 or 3 years? I'd rather "upgrade" rather than "replace" my laptop; meaning when I buy my next laptop, it's because I want to get a newer, faster, more up-to-date laptop, not because it's falling apart, the screen is bleeding, etc.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc?

I almost never use DVD-writers and stuff. I'm sure if I needed to do some burning I could always borrow a friend's computer. USB 3.0 LET'S DO IT. (I can has 1 USB 3.0 port?) A CD reader would probably be useful at some points though...

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

I don't think I'll come up with anything you guys won't already have. As a fun anecdote, I bought an e-machines computer once. My blood pressure went up over the next couple of years. Other than that I'm pretty sure the suggested brands I'll be given will work fine.

13. What country do you live in?

Canada. Specifically, the city of Waterloo in Ontario (guess which university I'm going to...).

Also, for suggestions I'm given, it'd be helpful if prior knowledge of how refunds/returns/warranties with the vendors of who I will be buying from work; incase I get damaged screens or stuff when I first get it.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I'm trying to get the most out of my eco budget, but there are some corners I really don't want to cut. For example, being able to play SC2 on High on $1000 but with a laptop that has a glitchy screen or is easily breakable isn't worth the stress that I'll have to deal with over stray pixels, bleeding lights, flimsy hinges, etc. for the next couple of years. If what I'm asking for is way out of my budget, feel free to give me a more realistic cost, or tell me that I'll have to live without certain features or luxuries with my budget. I'm not extremely picky, but performance shouldn't come at the cost of physical ease of use, durability, etc.

I have no experience in building computers, and if there's any technical handwork involved, I may as well just take the parts and smash them with a hammer.

Other practical issues that I might not have considered might be important as well: if my laptop overheats when playing games, that's a problem that would have to be addressed. No point in a performance setup if it gets too hot to ever fulfill its potential. I'm very unfamiliar with heating and cooling, so I'm placing my life in this community's hands when it comes to this lol. And again, reassurance with purchasing online if needed would be helpful. :)

Thanks so much for any help I receive. I appreciate a LOT, and I'm eager to see if anyone has some advice!

(I hope I didn't forget anything...)

I got email notification of this thread and I'll be checking regularly so expect fairly prompt answers to any queries you have! :)
3 answers Last reply
More about going laptop 1000 enough
  1. Hello SkylarNoeL;

    1. Should be an adequate budget.
    2. Visit one of your local shops and heft a 15" and 17" notebook and decide.
    3. 17" standard is 1600x900 and both 15" (standard 1366x768) /17" have an extra cost 1920x1080 option.
    5. Maybe your biggest challenge. You can't expect a power eating bright LCD screen to last 4 hours. In classroom note-taking mode to get that MFGR rated 6hr battery life you're talking about 20% screen brightness, maximum battery saving mode settings, and no WiFi or multi-tasking going on. You're expectations here don't seem realistic.
    6. SCII on high is just about possible in your budget range.
    10. No user upgrading options in consumer laptops except for RAM amount and HDD/SSD.
  2. From Dell Canada: Dell XPS 17 notebook $1000
    Core i7-2670QM 2.20GHz Sandy Bridget quad core CPU, 8GB RAM, 750GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1600x900 LCD w/ Geforce GT 550M graphics.
    2x USB 3.0, DVD burner, Wireless Display (WiDi), WiFi, Webcam, 6cell 56WH battery pack
    Some of the options: Bluetooth $20, Backlit keyboard $25, 9cell 90WH battery pack $50, 1920x1080 LCD screen.

    Width: 16.3" (414.9mm) Height: 1.5" (38.5mm) Depth: 11.3" (287.3mm)
    Weight:3.36kg / 7.41lbs (with 6-cell battery); 3.53kg/ 7.79lbs (with 9-cell battery)

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M review

    Dell XPS 17 (L702X) Review ( configured with options/upgrades).
  3. I'd guess the University of Waterloo, but hey, you could be going to Laurier too eh? I live just up the 401 from you and I have family in Kitchener so I know it well. Honestly, the laptop I bought for $500 would probably be more than enough for you and it's a lot less than $1000. It's based on the AMD A8-3500M (Llano) and it is amazing! I bought it just to be a general purpose laptop because I have my desktop gaming monster at home. When I went to Cuba for 2 weeks, I brought it with me and on a couple of the days I was there it stormed so I stayed in my room. I had installed Skyrim on it to test the power of the on-die Mobility Radeon HD 6620G but never got a chance to test it until then. I'm glad to say that the game was perfectly playable (which saved me from dying of boredom from watching CTV all day) which impressed the hell out of me. As far as everything else is concerned, modern computer hardware is so far ahead of software it's a joke. This laptop feels fast in everything it does and let's face it, I went to university and did just fine with an eMachines E620 with an Athlon 64 2650e 1.6GHz single-core CPU and primitive ATi Radeon X1200 graphics. Microsoft Office hasn't changed greatly since the days of Windows95 and neither have its hardware requirements. The other great thing about the A8-3500M is battery life. I can literally watch 6 hours of movies on a single charge due to the power saved by having the GPU on the same die as the CPU. Here's a link to the tomshardware review of a Llano laptop with an A8-3500M comparing it to a laptop with an i5-2520M:
    Here is the exact same laptop I have, still in stock at NCIX:
    This one is the same overall design but costs $120 more, has a 750GB Hard Drive instead of 640GB, 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB and has a discrete Mobility Radeon
    HD 6650M in addition to the A8's HD 6620G. It will give better graphics performance but it will also reduce battery life. I don't think it's really all that worth it when one considers that the 6620G alone plays Skyrim smoothly but for many high-end DX11 games, the dual graphics has a significant advantage. Either way, these laptops are far below the $1000 threshold you've set and I can personally say that the one for $530 is amazing and I'll never regret the choice I made.
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